stuff i read today

Bad Astronomy:

[I]f people want to believe whatever they want, it’s up to them. We have freedom from and of religion in the United States. But if they want to convince me they’ll have to do a lot more than give me anecdotes or non-scientifically based evidence. And if they want to affect politics and legislation, then they’d better sit down with the Constitution and give it a good read.

Monitor Mix:

Yesterday, I was sitting at an outdoor cafe, eating lunch with friends and listening to songs designed to enhance the experience: Vanessa Carlton, late-period Rod Stewart and Mike + The Mechanics. The restaurant thought it was placating its clientele, appealing to the masses by playing non-music; that is, music for people who would otherwise hate music. It's like this: Something happening in the background is suggestive of sound and implies melody; it could be music, or it could just be a cat wearing a fake mustache talking to a dog. It's hard to tell.

I'm fascinated by music that is designated as background noise. Do artists set out to be the soundtrack to mommy-and-me lunches, facials and waiting-room smudged-with-chocolate magazine perusals?

stuff i read today

From Salon, "Masturbatory insanity: the rise and fall of an idea":

Great harm can occur when religion is confused with medicine and medicine is harnessed for religious ends. joomla analytics

April Winchell:

Suzanne Somers … told a Toronto-based columnist that it was Swayze’s chemotherapy, and not cancer, that ended his life prematurely.…

“Why couldn’t they have built him up nutritionally and gotten rid of the toxins in his body? I hate to be controversial. I’m a singer-dancer-comedienne. But we have an epidemic going on, and I have to say it.” …

You don’t “have to say it”.

Not everything that limps into that shriveled cortex of yours needs to be immediately vomited out into the media. Not only is it not responsible, it’s just none of your fucking business.…

“Why couldn’t they have built him up nutritionally?” Well I guess that would have been one way to go, except that YOU CAN’T FUCKING EAT ANYTHING BECAUSE YOU HAVE CANCER IN YOUR PANCREAS, YOU STUPID PIECE OF SHIT.…

Shut your fucking mouth, you hypocritical, disgusting fuck bag.

Life in the Minors:

I have to remember that my teammates don’t grow up in cushy little suburbs in the United States, playing 60 games a year for traveling Little League teams that extort $5,000 for the “opportunity” to play. Instead, they come from a still developing country with a high crime rate, where $5,000 represents more than half of the average household income.

Latino Like Me:

So…when we say is racism the cause of the anti-Obama groundswell, we’re asking the wrong question.  We’re debating whether or not the people who oppose him hold beliefs of racial superiority and inferiority.  But who cares?  What we need to ask is HOW race is involved.  In a system where race has figured into our allocation of wealth, power, and privilege, it also shapes our understandings of what is right and wrong, good and bad.  This in unavoidable.  We need to better understand how race shapes the collective debate, from what is said to what is heard, by moving our understanding of its presence as something that is due to individual deficiency.  It isn’t about individual’s beliefs as much as it is about what shapes our shared understanding.

i'm guessing randy newman would see the irony

One of my favorite songs of all time, Randy Newman or otherwise, is "God's Song (That's Why I Love Mankind)." Way back in the first year of this blog, I had a post which consisted almost entirely of the lyrics to that song. If you aren't familiar with it, on a couple of occasions, God speaks to the masses:

Man means nothing he means less to me
Than the lowliest cactus flower
Or the humblest yucca tree
He chases round this desert
Cause he thinks that's where I'll be
That's why I love mankind

I recoil in horror from the foulness of thee
From the squalor, and the filth, and the misery
How we laugh up here in heaven at the prayers you offer me
That's why I love mankind ...

I burn down your cities --- how blind you must be
I take from you your children and you say how blessed are we
You must all be crazy to put your faith in me
That's why I love mankind
You really need me
That's why I love mankind

That post is long forgotten ... not the song, I'll never forget that ... and in the nearly seven years since I wrote it, no one has ever commented. Until today. Somebody's search engine is working overtime, helping yet another spammer find places to stick their links. In this case, the spammer is someone named Joe Mulford. Normally, I delete these things, so you might not have ever seen them ... usually, the comment will be something like "Great site! I agree 100%!" with the "posted by" note linked to their website. In this case, while I have no doubt it's the work of a bot, the comment is at least semi-connected to the post. You see, Joe Mulford sings religious songs ... his website informs us that he's even appeared on the 700 Club TV show! And, according to his comment, he is always looking to add to his repertoire:

Thanks for providing this song and this could be a great addition on my collection. I keep on searching the net to find all the praise and worship songs

I'll say it here now, in public: if Joe Mulford ever records "God's Song (That's Why I Love Mankind)," I will buy that CD.

house rides again

I don't know which I find more appealing ... that there is a lead character on a popular network television series who is an unabashed atheist, that he got off a great line this week, or that a quick look at Google tells us that 1) more people than just me enjoyed that line and 2) it's an old line that can be found all over the Internet.

Oh yeah, what did House say? "Religion is not the opiate of the masses. Religion is the placebo of the masses."

buffy and the phantom

The obituary for Danny Federici at the website for the funeral home doing the services finishes with a quote from one of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic books:

Saving the world means keeping the status quo. But apocalypses come because the world is trying to change. It has to. That either means chaos, and the morons chaos inevitably employs, or it means moving forward to something better.

another one bites the dust

Fucking dickhead, that is.

I don't know why, but two people this morning have already asked me why I haven't posted something about Falwell kicking the bucket. But what is there to say? I can see three possibilities:

1) Take the high road, on the theory that one shouldn't speak ill of the dead. That ain't gonna happen, at least not now that I've actually decided to post something.

2) Vilify Falwell. The only people that will piss off are his followers, and that doesn't bother me.

3) Then there's the third option, but I don't know if I'm in the mood for that one, plus I have to finish my 24 essay today, so I don't have time for the inevitable comments.

get yer head outta yer ass

Among the items in the most recent Newsweek poll of Americans:

When asked to select from a series of options to the question "Which one of the following statements come closest to your views about the origin and development of human beings," 48% of the respondents chose "God created humans pretty much in the present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so."

As stupid as these people are, they aren't as confused as the folks categorized in the poll as "Agnostics/Atheists." OK, it's bad enough that the two are combined into one group, which itself makes absolutely no sense. As one person commented, there was only one possible answer for those groups. Agnostics would choose "Other/Don't Know" and atheists would choose "God had no part." Instead, 13% of the agnostics/atheists believed God created humans in their present form. Huh?

Meanwhile, fewer than half of those polled answered yes to the following: "Do you think the scientific theory of evolution is well-supported by evidence and widely accepted within the scientific community?"

Y'all want to blame George Bush and the Republicans for everything that goes wrong in this country. But it's pretty clear that, Bush or no Bush, Americans are a pretty stupid lot.